Here are the most common questions we get asked, we hope it helps. If you can’t find the answer to your question or would just rather speak to a human, please contact us

What kind of items does the Bower collect?

The Bower accepts household furniture, bikes, some electronic appliances, small quantities of building materials, bric-a-brac, kitchenware and books. Please note that all donations are accepted at the discretion of the Bower staff, often depending on space and resources available. Please see our Collections page for more info and a full overview of items we do and don’t accept.

How do I contact the Bower?

See our Contact and locations page.

Why doesn’t the Bower take certain items?

In some cases there are legal and sanitary regulations that prevent the Bower from accepting certain goods, such as baby and children’s items including strollers, cots and care seats. Other items, such as washing machines and dishwashers, are unable to be tested by the Bower. We also cannot accept mattresses or furniture made from MDF or chipboard as they get easily damaged.

What if the Bower won’t accept my items?

The Bower has a Reuse Database with over 1,000 organisations listed that may take those items. They will refer you to the most appropriate organisation for your item. Key examples are mattresses, fabric and haberdashery items and excess building materials. The Bower receives no kickbacks or funding from these organisations. We cannot guarantee that they will take your items, but we are always updating and checking our databases to ensure the information we give out is as accurate and relevant as possible.

Can I donate in store?

Yes. If your unwanted items are small enough to fit into your car, you can take them directly to the Bower. Please note that donations are accepted at the discretion of the Bower staff, often depending on space and resources available.

Why is the Bower a reuse & repair centre and not a charity op-shop?

We do sell pre-loved goods just like a second hand store, but we’re so much more! The Bower is an entire resource centre for sustainable living and unique in its offering. Key to our mission of diverting landfill is the promotion of a reuse and repair culture. By promoting this culture we can extend the life cycle of a product which has two great outcomes.

1.The product doesn’t end up in landfill. 2. By refurbishing the chair/desk/electrical item for continued use, a replacement product is not required minimising the carbon footprint of the individual.

We practise what we preach. Every day our members and staff repair, refurbish and resurrect found furniture and industrial items for sale. Our entire building is refurbished, repaired and fitted out with salvaged building materials.

Is The Bower just a second hand shop?

No! Currently with the support of 21 councils we run a Collection and Rehoming Service to help customers locate other reuse organisations who might accept goods that The Bower is unable to accept. We have developed a line of in-house re-manufactured products from discarded products and materials. The Bower also run a range of workshops to promote Reuse and Repair. We hold workshops in Recycled Art, basic carpentry, Furniture Restoration and Repair, Introductory Upholstery, Furniture Painting, Mosaics, and our weekly Repair Café. We believe that educating people to look at their items in a new way and giving them the tools to renovate, upcycle or refurbish items that may be seen as waste will have a positive impact on the amount of ‘waste’ going into landfill.

What is special about the Marrickville Bower building?

The Marrickville Bower building is an excellent example of sustainable building practice in itself. We operate from the first straw bale building in Sydney, a 258sqm passive solar design warehouse. 600 straw bales make up the ‘infill’ walls, and the insulation is superb. The building used fully recycled materials in its construction: load-bearing posts recovered from demolition sites, roof trusses from an RPAH refurbishment, 5,000 second hand bricks, second hand roof sheeting, and all doors and windows were salvaged from so- called ‘waste’ on Sydney streets.

Can I pay with something other than cash?

Yes. We have EFTPOS facilities for Bankcard, Mastercard and VisaCard transactions.

To “hold” an item we can take payment over the phone. Call us on (02) 9568 6280.

Why do we offer courses and workshops?

At Bower Reuse and Repair Centres we consider community education a key factor in creating lasting change. The Bower wants to help its community acquire the skills and knowledge required to reimagine, reuse, repurpose and repair the everyday items that are central to modern life. We want to reignite the lost art of repair through facilitating courses and workshops at our Redfern and Parramatta locations.

To that end, The Bower offers a comprehensive program of courses and workshops from both its Redfern and Parramatta locations.

In 2022 The Bower is pleased to announce two new workshop series: The Maker Series and The Refurb Series. Both involve a range of single day workshops as well as longer, more detailed courses designed to educate, empower, and inspire.

The Maker Series is focused on creating items out of repurposed and reused materials. The Refurb Series looks at how you can upcycle and refresh items in and around your home. All Level 1 Beginners Courses are suitable for absolute beginners. Participants in our Level 2 Beginners courses will benefit from some experience in a workshop environment.

The Bower’s Home DIY Course will equip participants with the confidence and know-how to undertake a broad range of small fixes in the home.

We want you to feel like you can do it.

Join our excellent facilitators in this supportive, fail-safe environment. We’ll help you DIY!

Who operates / runs the Bower?

As a cooperative the members (the community) own and ultimately control the assets of the Bower. The big picture is overseen by a Board of Directors, who employs the General Manager, who in turn employs the rest of the team. They carry out the daily running of the Bower. Members and volunteers provide invaluable support in daily maintenance of the Bower and its stock. We work with numerous local programs like Community Service Orders and Work for the Dole. We are not a council initiative, but we would not be able to achieve our goals without council support across Sydney.

How does The Bower obtain its goods?

At our discretion, we accept donations of goods at our retail store and arrange collections from donors including small business, salvage and demolition, charitable organisations and individuals. We collect what we can and reuse, repair and resell it, extending its life cycle and minimising its carbon footprint. So think about contacting us before you book a collection with your local council.

What resources does the Bower collect?

We take most household goods in good, reusable condition: furniture, electrical appliances, whitegoods, bric-a-brac, architectural hardware including fireplaces, stained glass windows and doors to name just some of the items (See a list of all items). For various public health and OH&S reasons and/or space constraints we cannot collect everything. Mattresses, kid’s items like cots and prams and clothes are not items we can accept. If you’re looking to donate these items we can provide a list of well-known organisations and stores who might be able to help. Please note that as the Bower is a centre for reuse we are unable to take outdated technology for recycling. Some electronics we do take but this is at the discretion of our staff. If we can’t take it, we can give you referrals to people who can.

Where does the money go?

Sales help cover operational costs so that we can continue to divert resources from landfill. We are a registered environmental charity and a not-for-profit organisation, which means that any excess funds (we wish!) go directly to the running of the centre and providing greater service to the community and to local employment. Currently funds are absorbed mostly by operations and insurances. Donations to The Bower are tax deductible and can be made online.

Will you buy my unwanted fridge/couch/desk/collection of Billy Joel?

It’s not that we don’t appreciate your pre-loved goods, or the sonorous tones of Billy Joel, but as an environmental charity, we exist to deal with the bits and bobs that other commercially operated second hand stores don’t seem to want. So we don’t buy goods, or exchange, or barter. We accept, collect and refer donations. You should think of us as being like The Salvos – except our religion is Reuse & Repair to improve the environmental sustainability of Sydney. There are plenty of second hand stores listed in the Yellow Pages if you need to exchange goods for cash.

Does The Bower practice what it preaches?

Indeed we do! Nearly every fixture and fitting you see in the centre is reused. Our cash register, computers, phones, fax, photocopier, printer, fridge, microwave, kettle, staff amenities, filing, shelving, display cabinets, tools and equipment, etc have all been rescued from a trip to the tip. We use our rain water tank for washing up and we recycle whatever we are able to. For example our scrap metal goes to a recycler. There are plans to reduce our carbon emissions even further by recycling and composting more of our waste.

Are there benefits in being a member?

Of course! While all patrons are welcome to browse and buy second hand goods and Bower manufactured items, only Members may vote on changes to the constitution, elect the Board of Directors and steer the direction of the enterprise. Members also have access to our ‘Rent-a-bench’ workshop space in Redfern and can also become one of our consignors who are invited to sell restored goods in The Bower’s shopfronts. Find out about becoming a Bower Member now.

Does The Bower deliver?

Yes, we deliver to a wide range of suburbs, divided into zones. Contact us to find out which zone your suburb is in.

Delivery fee:

  • Local $45 fee
  • Other suburbs $55. Plus $10 for additional item.

We only delver to ground floor.

We only deliver stock which can be lifted by two people, as this is an OH&S requirement.

Visit our reuse database to find another service for you collection if your items aren’t appropriate.

We do not deliver (or collect) up or down flights of stairs. For the same OH&S reasons we do not deliver big awkward items like pianos or large sheets of glass.

We cannot set a delivery time but the truck driver can call ahead with an approximate delivery time on the day.

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation who are the traditional custodians of this land and pay respect to Elders past, present and future and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people.